Vampires are set to rule the upcoming People's Choice Awards -- with blockbuster fantasy film franchise Twilight and blood-sucking TV series True Blood leading the nominations.
The public cast more than 18 million votes online to select the nominees for next year's ceremony, and it will also choose the winners in 35 categories.
The Twilight Saga will compete against Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and Star Trek in the favorite-movie and favorite-film-franchise categories.
Stars Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner have earned nods for best onscreen team, joining fellow nominees Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince), Sandra Bullock andRyan Reynolds (The Proposal), Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox (Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen) and Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, Ryan Reynolds, will.i.am, Dominic Monaghan and Daniel Henney (X-Men Origins: Wolverine).
Pattinson and Stewart were also nominated individually for favorite movie actress and actor, and will face-off against A-listers Brad Pitt, Hugh Jackman, Johnny Depp, Ryan Reynolds, Anne Hathaway, Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Aniston and Sandra Bullock in their respective categories.
Lautner is also up for breakout movie actor alongside Chris Pine, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Sam Worthington and Zachary Quinto.
Meanwhile, True Blood was nominated for favorite TV obsession and favorite sci-fi/fantasy TV show, where it will battle against Vampire Diaries, Heroes, Lost and Supernatural.
The show's star Anna Paquin will fight it out with Blake Lively, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Katherine Heigl and Mariska Hargitay for favorite TV drama actress -- while Hugh Laurie, Kiefer Sutherland, Mark Harmon, Matthew Fox and Patrick Dempsey compete for the title of favorite TV drama actor.
Musically, newcomers Adam Lambert, Demi Lovato, Kris Allen, Lady Gaga and reality TV star Susan Boyle will battle for favorite breakout music artist.
Eminem, Jason Mraz, John Mayer, Keith Urban and Tim McGraw will go head-to-head for the favorite-male-artist accolade, while their female counterparts include Beyonce, Britney Spears, Carrie Underwood, Pink and Taylor Swift.
Queen Latifah will host the People's Choice Awards at Los Angeles' Nokia Theatre on Jan. 6.
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The public cast more than 18 million votes online to select the nominees for next year's (10) ceremony, and will also choose the winners in 35 categories.
The Twilight Saga will compete against Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and Star Trek in the favourite movie and favourite film franchise categories.
Stars Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner have earned nods for best on-screen team, joining fellow nominees Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince), Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds (The Proposal), Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox (Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen) and Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, Ryan Reynolds, will.i.am, Dominic Monaghan and Daniel Henney (X-Men Origins: Wolverine).
Pattinson and Stewart were also nominated individually for favourite movie actress and actor, and will face-off against A-listers Brad Pitt, Hugh Jackman, Johnny Depp, Ryan Reynolds, Anne Hathaway, Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Aniston and Sandra Bullock in their respective categories.
Lautner is also up for breakout movie actor alongside Chris Pine, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Sam Worthington and Zachary Quinto.
Meanwhile, True Blood was nominated for favourite TV obsession and favourite sci-fi/fantasy TV show, where it will battle for the title against The Vampire Diaries, Heroes, Lost and Supernatural.
The show's star Anna Paquin will fight it out with Blake Lively, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Katherine Heigl and Mariska Hargitay for favourite TV drama actress - while Hugh Laurie, Kiefer Sutherland, Mark Harmon, Matthew Fox and Patrick Dempsey compete for the title of favourite TV drama actor.
Musically, newcomers Adam Lambert, Demi Lovato, Kris Allen, Lady Gaga and reality TV star Susan Boyle will battle for favourite breakout music artist.
Eminem, Jason Mraz, John Mayer, Keith Urban and Tim McGraw will go head-to-head for the favourite male artist accolade, while their female counterparts include: Beyonce, Britney Spears, Carrie Underwood, Pink and Taylor Swift.
Queen Latifah will host the People's Choice Awards at Los Angeles' Nokia Theatre on 6 January, 2010.
This period piece takes place amidst the gossip of aristocrats in fascist Italy where the characters search for freedom passion love and self-identity. This is a straightforward tale and much like a good play it has plenty of witty dialogue and a well-paced story. The film opens with a bit of history but we soon enter a world of lust death blackmail and escape. It's an odd love story to be sure but it works. The chemistry between a beautiful English aristocrat (Kristin Scott Thomas) and an American playboy (Sean Penn) lights up the screen.
Scott Thomas and Penn are brilliant together utterly believable as romantic partners. Thomas' elegant demeanor combined with Penn's grittier charms will certainly keep audiences interested. Anne Bancroft's over-the-top princess is full of zest and wit much like her Miss Havisham was in the recent remake of "Great Expectations."
Philip Haas brings together a rich and sensuous blend of settings and characters. He skillfully combines the lushness of a Merchant-Ivory film with bristly more muscular storytelling.
About 10 years ago the residents of Springwood ended Freddy Krueger's legendary reign of terror by drugging the town's teens to prevent them from dreaming and locking away the ones who wouldn't forget the master of nightmares. But as Freddy points out "being forgotten was a bitch." In order to emerge from his purgatory Freddy needs to instill fear back on the 1400 block of Elm Street--and he thinks he has found his ticket with the hockey-mask-wearing serial killer Jason Voorhees. Taking the form of Jason's dead mother Freddy invades Jason's dreams and instructs him to leave Crystal Lake and head to Elm Street to do some slaughtering. The plan actually works and as the town becomes fearful once more Freddy is able to prey on their vulnerability. But whom will Freddy torment if Jason slashes all the teens in town? As advertised by the studio the two '80s horror icons eventually engage in the ultimate showdown. Moviegoers however will have to check out the movie to find out who wins the face-off but the question is is it worth it? If you are not a fan of either franchise be prepared to sit through a shoddy story that is missing the tension and buildup so prevalent in Wes Craven's original 1984 thriller A Nightmare on Elm Street. If you are devotee the melding of Freddy and Jason on the big screen is a pretty delicious treat but the battle's outcome may ultimately frustrate fans.
Almost 20 years ago Robert Englund gained cult status as Freddy Krueger--a horror icon as recognizable as Boris Karloff's Frankenstein. Now Englund's name has become so synonymous with this character that replacing him would be catastrophic--and with good reason; this character actor is cause enough to go see the Freddy vs. Jason. This is Englund's eighth time going under the putty knife and he appears to still be having a blast playing Freddy. Although the character's physical appearance hasn't changed a bit (he still wears that skanky striped sweater and his razor fingers are still charmingly low-tech) but his quips are more sarcastic than ever. "What's the matter Lori " the dream-crasher taunts his victim. "Miss your wake-up call?" Former stunt performer Ken Kirzinger portrays Freddy's challenger Friday the 13th's Jason Vorhees. Different actors portrayed the character in 6 of the 10 installments of the Friday series; the last four sequels starred Kane Hodder. But since Jason sports a hockey mask and doesn't talk he doesn't have many personality traits to note--unless you count his slashing technique. So while Kirzinger is a convincing enough Jason it's safe to assume this stunt man was probably hired more for his ability to crash through glass and go up like a human torch rather for any likeness to Jason.
Director Ronny Yu who helmed the psycho doll thriller Bride of Chucky in 1998 is no stranger to the horror genre. Freddy vs. Jason is well done especially Yu's subtle transitions from the characters' realities to dreamland. This is where the director manages to inject a bit of tension into the film by playing mind games with the audience: When a character heads towards imminent danger the audience is never sure if they have fallen asleep and are dreaming or if what is happening is real--until a visual clue pops up like a bleating goat appearing where it clearly doesn't belong. Yu does this with a sense of humor and a bit of '80s nostalgia which is sure to please connoisseurs of the franchise. But the problem with Freddy vs. Jason is that it is so busy not taking itself too seriously that it fails to instill fear. Screenwriters Damian Shanning and Mark Swift had the thorny task of blending Freddy's supernatural and somewhat intellectually superior storylines with Jason's thuggish slasher plots and the result is story that leans more towards the brutish. The buildup and tension that made Nightmare on Elm Street so eccentrically frightening is gone and Freddy is brought down to Jason's level forced to fight physically rather than use his manipulative mind power. Watching the two malevolent entities hacking away at each other Freddy and Jason have almost been reduced to standing jokes.
Bobby Garfield (David Morse) returns to his small hometown to attend the funeral of his childhood friend and remembers the fateful summer in 1960 when his whole world changed. The story flashes back to when 11-year-old Bobby (Anton Yelchin) and his best friends Carol (Mika Boorem) and Sully-John (Will Rothhaar) capture the pure joy of youthfulness. When a mysterious stranger named Ted Brautigan (Anthony Hopkins) moves upstairs and starts to pay attention to Bobby the boy suddenly realizes what's truly missing from his life--the love of a parent. Bobby's mother Liz (Hope Davis) is embittered by the death of Bobby's father and shows little compassion for her son's growing needs. Ted fills a void with the boy opening his eyes to the world around him and helps Bobby come to terms with his real feelings for Carol--and his mother. But Ted also has some deep dark secrets of his own and Bobby tries hard to stop danger from reaching the old man.
The performances make the film especially in the genuine camaraderie of the kids. Yelchin Boorem and Rothhaar never deliver a false move with an easiness that makes us believe we are simply watching three 11-year-old children grow up together. Yelchin in particular is able to get right to the heart of this young boy who misses his father and clings to the only adult who will listen. And his scenes with Boorem simply break your heart. (Davis) does an admirable job playing a part none too sympathetic. She manages to show a woman whose been beaten down but who does truly love her son in her own way. Morse too is one of those character actors you can plug in any movie and get a performance worth noting. In Hearts you want to see more of him. Of course the film shines brightest when Hopkins is on the screen. It may not be an Oscar-caliber performance but the actor is unparalleled in bringing a character to life--showing the subtleties of an old man looking for some peace in his life.
If you are expecting the Stephen King novel you may be disappointed. Screenwriter William Goldman and director Scott Hicks (Shine) deftly extracted the King formula of telling a story through a child's eye and explaining how the relationships formed as a child shaped the adult later. Hicks did an amazing job with his young actors especially Yelchin and Boorem. But where the novel continued into a supernatural theme explaining Brautigan's fear of being captured by "low men in yellow coats" (a reference to King's The Dark Tower series) the movie downplayed the mystical elements instead giving real explanations for Brautigan's man-on-the-run. That was the one problem with Hearts--we needed more danger. Introducing men from another dimension may not have been the way to go but had there been more tension the film would have resonated more especially when Bobby risked his own safety to save Ted.
We hear that Edward Norton ("Fight Club") may step into Paramount's crime actioner "The Score" as the young hood who locks horns with the older thief played by Robert De Niro. Ben Affleck was to co-star opposite De Niro but quickly exited the project for unknown reasons. Norton recently completed "Keeping the Faith," in which he made his directorial debut.
PLAYGROUND'S SETTING OF PLAY: Some big -- albeit under wraps -- names are involved in the highly secret development of a new version of William Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream," with the tony beach resort community of East Hampton, N.Y., to be the whimsical, if unlikely, setting.
There have already been at least eight big-screen adaptations of Shakespeare's fantasy-comedy, so it's a relief to learn that this latest effort is headed for its original home -- the stage. Speaking of home, East Hampton is summer home to throngs of scenemakers -- its famous beaches a far cry from the forests where the Bard's sprites and fairies co-mingle -- and is real home to Hollywood royalty such as Steven Spielberg, Barry Sonnenfeld and Alec Baldwin.
No, these latest "Midsummer" producers aren't eyeing Alec for the role of Puck, although the not-obviously puckish Stanley Tucci did a nice turn as the mischievous Puck in the recent Fox Searchlight version of "Midsummer."
PRICIER, LONGER & UNCUT: With the upcoming millennium celebration clouded by fears of terrorist attacks and uncertainties surrounding the fate of Beanie Babies, we thought we'd focus on something more positive for the new year -- resolutions, or, more specifically, how well Hollywood keeps its promises.
For ages, the studios have resolved to spend less and entertain more (in 120 minutes or less). Think the infamous Jeffrey Katzenberg memo from the early 1990s, in which the then-Disney executive called for fiscal restraint and contracts that required directors to deliver pictures less than two hours.
Easier said (or written) than done.
While Hollywood budgets in 1999 didn't reach the "titanic" heights of $200 mil, holiday films such as "End of Days," "Sleepy Hollow," "The World is Not Enough," "Bicentennial Man" and "Galaxy Quest" all orbited around the $100 mil mark. Not exactly chump change.
More egregiously (if you believe in resolutions), the studios bombarded us this holiday season with two-hour-plus time-busters such as "Magnolia," "The Insider," "The Green Mile," "Angela's Ashes," "The Cider House Rules," "Snow Falling on Cedars," "Titus," "The World is Not Enough," "The Hurricane," "Any Given Sunday," "Anna and the King," "Bicentennial Man," "Liberty Heights," "The Messenger" and "Ride With the Devil."
Happily, at a swift 92 minutes, holiday hit "Stuart Little" was the rare film that lived up to its name. Though its not-so-mousy budget of an estimated $80 million is another reminder that resolutions in Hollywood are tough to keep, indeed.